Monday, February 23, 2015

That's Knot: A Sad Story

I met him in his fourth life. In the  other three he had been shot, buried beneath a collapsed boulder, and abandoned.

His name was Knot, as in "that's Knot, my dog." The phrasing took off from there. "He's Knot, a very friendly, smart, hungry dog." Or "Have Knot, want Knot."

Aside from a bullet hole that never closed in the outer layer of skin covering his penis, you wouldn't know he had been through much more than is typical for rural New Mexico dogs. That's because he was so companionable, easy going, friendly to all, even cats.

Yes, he would bark when visitors drove up the long drive to Kate's remote home. But it was a signal bark, not a threatening or hostile bark. He was a sentinel, an observer, rather than a guard dog.

It spite of his leg having been shattered by the bullet that hit his femur, Knot could run. For miles. He liked to accompany me on my bike rides along the twin track dirt road that wound through ranch land near El Morro National Monument in northern New Mexico. He would sprint ahead, double back, pass me, turn around, and then fly past me again before repeating the pattern.

He got along with the local coyotes and let them cross the road in front of us without too much fanfare or barking drama that many domestic dogs indulge in. He was comfortable with wild spaces and liked to wander.

Then he teamed up with Diablo.

Two dogs that have too much freedom can become a gang, or a pack, and begin to live by their own rules.

Knot began to get into trouble. He went to the National Monument and wore out his welcome. He was arrested, taken to Grants, and had to be bailed out. More than once. As a repeat offender, his sentences began to lengthen and he started to break bad.

Kate tried to reel him in, but Diablo had replaced her as primary influence.

In bad company, Knot took to the woods and the fields, the life of the back roads. He started to experiment with handouts and free loading. Soon he hit the hard life of begging.

Kate was at her wit's end. No fence could keep Knot at home. He had a taste of feral freedom and wasn't about to return to domestic life.

The dog catcher was looking for him and a warrant went out. He was looking at hard time, maybe even euthanasia.

Nobody knows how this will turn out.


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